Creating Your Own Path to Success (What I Wish I Knew in High School)

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There’s one thing I wish I’d known when I was in high school: Pursuing my passion would bring me infinitely more fulfillment, opportunities, and money than sticking to a traditional “plan” ever would. 

Me in high school with no clue what the heck I wanted to do.

You’ve heard it before, “Pursue your passion.” 

It sounds nice. But what does it really mean? And how do you make it happen? 

First, you need to get clear on something: What is your passion? 

For a lot of people, the answer is obvious. For others, they struggle coming up with anything. If you’re part of the second group—no worries, everyone’s path takes different twists and turns—to help spark your thinking, ask yourself these questions:

  • What would I do even if I wasn’t getting paid? 
  • When I was a child (or now!) what did people compliment me on a lot? What was I always doing? Where did my mind naturally go? 
  • If I worked 40 hours a week at a job I didn’t love, what would I still have energy to come home and do? 

Personally, the answer to all of those questions was clear: write. Since childhood, I refused to leave the house without stacks of paper and a pen in hand. Nothing excited me more than receiving a blank journal as a gift. I was always crafting stories in my mind and telling people about my ideas. 

Words felt like home. 

What feels like home to you? Latch on to that and let’s keep moving. 

What does it mean to “pursue” something? 

According to the dictionary it means: continue or proceed along a path or route. 

Easy enough. So, what does that look like in regard to pursuing your passion? A few things:

  • Getting clear on your “why.”Why exactly do you want to do what you’re setting out to do? Without a why, your dreams are less likely to materialize. 
  • Making a plan. A goal without a plan is merely a dream. Dreams are great—but they’re even better when they become reality. In order to do so, you need a plan. Your plan will probably change a lot as you grow, but that’s ok! Make one anyway. 
  • Sticking to the plan.Perseverance is the name of the game when it comes to success. The world is a tough place. People are mean. Not everyone will agree with your choices or your pursuit. People will try to throw you off track. Put your head down, work hard, and stick to the plan. 
  • Know and internalize your worth.If you take one thing away from this blog, make it this: You are worth every last drop of success coming your way, but in order to receive the abundance that’s coming to you, you must first believe you deserve it. 

Let’s review: Pursuing something means understanding why you’re after it, crafting a plan to reach it, sticking it out when things get hard, and believing the end goal is already yours. 

Necessary tools of success

On your own, it’ll be extremely difficult to create success. However, if you pack your toolbox full of the necessary tools (figurative toolbox, obviously) you’ll be much more prepared. What’s in a successful person’s toolbox?  

People

Without the right people in your circle, you’ll struggle to reach your full potential. Surround yourself with people who challenge you, support you, make you think harder, inspire you, and have found success in whatever field you’re in. You are who you walk with—remember that.

Mentality 

There’s no moral code stating you need to strive to be a high achiever. Lots of people live incredibly happy lives without going above and beyond. However, if you wantto be a high achiever, it starts with a growth mindset. That means: believing intelligence, skill, and success can be developed—you’re not stuck with what you innately have. This mindset will be the foundation of years and years of success. 

Persistence

It never gets easier—you just get smarter and better. Pursuing your passion with the goal of achieving greatness is exhausting. There will be days you want to throw in the towel and call it quits—falling back on something that’s “easier” or “pays better.” This is where you make a conscious decision to keep moving, to not give up no matter how bad you want to. Take a deep breath, give yourself a second to regroup, and then get after it. 

Continued Learning 

There’s alwaysmore to learn. Learning is the #1 best thing you can do for your career, relationships, happiness, and health. Develop a hunger for as much information as you can handle. Read every day. Keep up with current events. Listen to podcasts. Attend seminars. Take classes that push you outside your comfort zone. Grab coffee with someone and actively listen to whatever they have to teach you. Feed your brain and the success will come. 

Putting it all together 

Now’s the fun part. You take all the little pieces—your passion, your plan, your toolbox—and put them into action. Create the life you’re after! Build something you’re proud of! Choose the pursuit every single day. Congrats—life is about to get good.

Last thoughts

There are thousands of routes you can take moving forward. The opportunities are endless. But if there’s something tugging at your heart, a little nudge from the Universe saying, “Follow this!” I urge you to listen.

Often, it’s those little nudges that lead us down a path so fulfilling we struggle to believe it’s ours.

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